The novel coronavirus sweeping the planet in 2020 has apparently followed a familiar path — from the depths of rainforests and other wild habitat to places human beings congregate, such as marketplaces and cooking hearths.
We’ve already seen this happen with Ebola, which likely came to humans from chimpanzees used as “bush meat”; MERS, which originated in camels; and the deadly Marburg virus, which was presumably transmitted from bats.
As for COVID-19, caused by the novel coronavirus currently sweeping the globe, researchers say the “reservoir” species were most likely bats; the virus also appears to be similar to one found in pangolins, an animal similar to armadillos that is another source of “bush meat.”
The more that the habitats of wild animals are disturbed, the more their diseases will end up becoming our diseases.
It’s a stark demonstration of how delicately balanced the Earth’s interconnected ecosystem really is.
The take-away: Global society needs to get serious about protecting habitat, and stopping the wild-animal trade — not just because of our shared responsibility for the animals of the world, but also because our lives depend on it.